I was very aware that life was going to change for me once I found out I was pregnant but I was not prepared for the knock that my confidence was going to take.
I always saw myself as a rather fashionable person. I put together funky outfits and knew how to accessorise like a boss. I was no trend setter or anything like that and was never particularly eclectic in my choices but I always felt like my outfits were a bit more than just jeans and a nice top!
I offered friends advice and was happy to lend out my clothes. I loved the pre going out phone calls discussing what we were going to wear and it felt good that my friends wanted my opinion and very often listened to it.
Then I got pregnant and boom everything changed.
As I watched my body grow and grow my confidence took hit after hit.
I was fucking huge. I am not exaggerating I was absolutely massive. I went from a size 8/10 to a 15 stone waddling umpa lumpa!! Being short did not help matters either, I was just rotund! This was all self inflicted mind as I was a greedy animal! I remember being at one of the first NCT meetings and we got onto the subject of weight gain. I said oh you know I'm usually a size 8/10 and they actually looked at me as though I had a penis on my forehead because I was that huge and was currently shovelling ANOTHER chocolate digestive into my fat gob.
I was so lucky to have shared my pregnancy with 3 of my besties. Me and Belle were 6 weeks apart and we lived a stones throw from each other so we used to get together, watch shite daytime tele and binge. When I say binge, fucking hell it was actually gross! Soooooooo much food and all proper stodge!! Belle didn't seem to put weight on as she was more disciplined when I wasn't there!! I was the feeder! But me, well I was anything but disciplined, in fact I was a proper greedy cunt, there is no denying it.
We went out for a birthday lunch and I sat there eating everything that the girls couldn't. We still laugh about it now! Me sat at the table that I could barely reach because my bump was so huge asking everyone to pass me their leftovers - greedy fucking wanker!
It didn't bother me too much in pregnancy as I was embracing it and just not giving too many fucks. To be honest I don't think I really noticed the huge weight gain as I just put it down to my baby growing inside me. But who was I kidding, Samuel weighed 7lb 2oz and the rest of the weight was down to my greedy eyes and picky fingers. What's the saying? Little pickers wear big knickers? Well can you imagine what big pickers wear? Fucking gigantic knickers!
After having Samuel I didn't rush to get the weight off as I was too fucking knackered to give a shit. We went on holiday when Samuel was 3 months and then it hit me just how huge I was and how I looked like a sack of shit in anything I wore! Getting into a bikini made me want to vomit and I just hated myself if I am really honest. Such a horrible feeling to have about yourself. My body had grown, cared for, delivered and fed a baby but I hated it! How shockingly shit to feel that way. There are very few photos of me pregnant or with Samuel in the early stages because of the shame I felt about myself and I regret that to this day.
Fast forward 9 months and the weight had gone luckily! I didn't do any vigorous exercise or anything but I did ALOT of walking to try and get Samuel to sleep and to keep him asleep. Once it started to come off it just fell off! I may have been back to my pre baby weight but I was in no way back to my pre baby state of mind.
I had no confidence what so ever. None, zilch, zero.
The clothes I wore were so frumpy. I had never in my life been frumpy. I have a particularly vivid memory of going to a garden party and my friend Lauren turning up looking gorgeous. Quite a simple outfit but just the way she had put it together, her make up everything just looked so fashionable. I looked at myself and just felt like I didn't know who I was anymore.
Not only had I lost my fashion sense but I lost my care for how I looked and that was not me. I am in no way a pristine looking girl! My eyebrows often need plucking and I'm happy to go out with greasy hair or a stain on my top, even slightly stubbly armpits, but all of a sudden I just didn't give a toss about anything.
Urgh it was not a fun time in my life. I should have been full of the joys of a new baby and embracing motherhood and whilst I did do that I realised after having Toby just how different the two experiences were.
I didn't know what to do with myself to make me feel better. I am not very good at sharing my feelings either so kept most of it to myself at the time, which is the worst fucking thing you can do, especially when I have such a fantastic support network. I do not recommend keeping your feelings inside. You are not a burden to your friends but they cannot help you if you do not open up to them.
My identity had gone. I was no longer Paula the fashionista, wild child and sarcastic twat but I was Paula, new mum, carer, cook and housewife. I still looked at myself in the mirror and saw a different person staring back at me. Everything I wore was so blurgh. Nothing fitted well and I didn't really have the money to go on a huge shopping spree either. I was just reworking the same tired boring clothes that, I felt, had come to define me as tired and boring.
We moved to a new town when Samuel was 8 months so this also made me feel anxious as despite my friends being only 10 minutes away it was not the same as being able to walk to their houses. It was another part of me that I felt I was losing.
Looking at instagram and Facebook at all these gorgeous women in their fabulous outfits made my outlook on it all so bleak. Look how fabulous they look, how confident they seem, how pouty their lush lips are. Rather than spurring me on to sort my own confidence issues out it just made me retreat into my own sad little world. Why was I competing with people I didn't even know? It wasn't even a competition as I had already branded myself a loser.
To be really honest I cannot even tell you where or when I came out of it but slowly and surely I started to feel better. I started to open up to my girlfriends and Simon. I started to get out of the house for myself no-one else. I started painting my nails and actually plucking my eyebrows. I started going to baby groups and that is where I met Nina, the other half of Nipa Threads. Another sarcastic no bull mumma who I instantly clicked with. Then we met our girl Louise and we became firm friends a little trio with all our boys.
I started walking into town a couple of times a week and buying some new jeans here or a top there. I was fitting into my pre pregnancy clothes which made me feel proud that I was back to my normal size. I started wanting to look nice again. I enjoyed the art of putting together a great outfit or clashing my prints in a particular way. Buying a gorgeous bright new lipstick that made me smile as soon as I put it on. Slowly but surely regaining myself.
That is another reason Nipa Threads is so important to me because it is simple fashion which can be dressed in a way that gives it instant style points. Some huge hoop earrings here, a leopard print hairband there. Chunky white trainers or some sliders. Denim jacket or a rain Mac. There are so many ways to wear our slogans and they make your outfit so much more than just jeans and a t-shirt.
It is my new uniform. So easy to wear, our garments and designs give you a look that is relaxed yet chic. You can be comfortable and classy all in one go. No more sitting on my bed looking wistfully into my wardrobe for some inspiration. I get up and showered and put on a slogan that suits my mood and dress it accordingly.
If you are interested to see how we wear our garms do check out our socials on Facebook and Instagram both under @nipathreads. You can see what sort of things we pair our slogans with.
I love creating slogans and feeling like I am helping simplify the fashion game. I mean fast fashion is so fucking hard to keep up with! So many trends coming and going. I love to buy into a trend if it suits me but I really really love having my old faithful staples that I can rely on to make me feel good when I put them on.
Remember you are fucking fabulous darling